Terrorists and liberal college professors still hate Jack Bauer
Bauer, portrayed by actor Kiefer Sutherland, is back in action in the Fox miniseries "24: Live Another Day," in which he uses his special brand of "enhanced interrogation techniques" to save Britain from terrorists and the United States from going to war with China. His mere presence was enough to rile up Rebecca Gordon, a University of San Francisco philosophy teacher, peace activist, and author of a book called Mainstreaming Torture. Gordon penned an op-ed, which The Huffington Post gladly published, titled "Still Living with Jack Bauer in a Terrified New American World."
If you think Gordon's column is a direct indictment of "24" and Bauer's treatment of bad guys, you would be wrong. Jack Bauer is merely a red herring to entice readers to ingest the column. It isn't really about Bauer or Hollywood's depiction of violence at all. Rather, Gordon issues a tired diatribe against the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," echoing the same attacks on the former President and Dick Cheney that most liberals got out of their system when they left office.
Gordon only mentions Jack Bauer once, and immediately begin attacking George W. Bush in the second paragraph. In an attempt to rewrite history, Gordon contends Bush was racially motivated, floating the idea that our government convinced us that "Dark-skinned foreigners promoting disturbing religions were driven to destroy because, as President George W. Bush said more than once, 'they hate our freedoms.' It was 'them or us.'" That is an incredibly twisted and over-simplified view of the justification for the War on Terror, and Gordon fails to realize that radical Islam is blindly driven to destroy western civilization, a point that the last 14 years have proven time and again.
At the core of Gordon's obsession is her belief that not enough people went to prison over the torture scandal during the second Gulf War, namely the President and Vice-President. "We have never had a full accounting of all the torture programs used in the War on Terror," she argues, while bringing up Abu Ghraib and even CIA missions dating back to the Vietnam War. She does, mildly, take President Obama to task for not doing more to stop continued torture, but her true focus is on the Bush legacy and the military tasked to keep us safe.
Gordon insists we live in a "cowardly new world," because we continue to justify the torture of terrorists. She seems oblivious to the realities of our world, one in which radical Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS continue to march across the Middle East, leaving death in their wake. Perhaps it is because she makes these proclamations from the detached serenity of the University of San Francisco, as she seems annoyed that "in these years, 'safety' and 'security' have become primary national concerns." Perhaps she should ask the hundreds of Christian girls kidnapped and victimized by Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group in Nigeria, whose actions have gone unchallenged for years.
While no one suggests torture be mainstreamed, those of us who enjoy the blessings of liberty and safety should trust the judgement of those who provide it. While mechanisms should be in place to prevent excesses and abuses, we should also understand that in a world of pure evil, torture has become a necessary evil.
Gordon tries to paint the use of torture as a selfish act, used for one's own benefit. "There is a word for people whose first concern is always for their own safety and who will therefore permit anything to be done in their name as long as it keeps them secure. Such people are sometimes called cowards." Gordon fails to recognize that those who resort to torture do so not for their own amusement, but as a final resort to protect those under their charge. Osama bin Laden and those responsible for 9/11 were found only after waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" loosened the lips of their associates.
Those harsh realities, however, seem too far removed from San Francisco for Gordon to acknowledge them.